In demand across the world for her vivid interpretations and identification with the roles she performs, soprano Ermonela Jaho is particularly recognized for her portrayals of Violetta in La Traviata, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly and Suor Angelica in Il trittico. In the 2018/19 season, Jaho reprised the role of Suor Angelica under Kirill Petrenko at the Bayerische Staatsoper. She also reprised the role of Madama Butterfly in Munich in 2019, which she had previously sung at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. In the same season, Jaho brought her interpretation of Violetta back to the Opéra national de Paris, Covent Garden and Staatsoper Berlin. She has portrayed Verdi’s tragic heroine in more than fifteen opera houses, from the Metropolitan Opera to the Sydney Opera House, as well as in Vienna, Munich, Verona, Madrid, Stuttgart, Marseilles, Stockholm, Hamburg, Lyon, Buenos Aires and on tour in Japan with the Royal Opera House.
Ermonela Jaho was born in Albania and began to take singing lessons when she was just six years old. At the age of fourteen, she was taken to the Tirana Opera House for the first time to hear La traviata and grew determined to become an opera singer. At nineteen, she won a scholarship to study with Katia Ricciarelli in Mantua, and a year later moved to Rome to continue her studies at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Over the next years, Jaho won singing competitions in Milan, Ancona and Rovereto, and began her professional career appearing as Mimì in La Bohème at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Micaëla in Carmen at the Teatro Verdi Trieste, and Irène in Sapho at the Wexford Festival Opera.
In addition to her portrayals of opera’s most famous Italian heroines, from operas by Bellini, Donizetti, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi, Ermonela Jaho’s broad and diverse repertoire spans Massenet and Offenbach, as well as operas by Auber, Bizet, Chabrier, Gounod, Handel, Milhaud, Mozart, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Johann Strauss, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. She begins the current season with her debut at the Greek National Opera in Athens as Cio-Cio-San and will close it out with her debut as the title role in Maria Stuarda with Opera Australia. Jaho will also return to the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and to Paris as Marguerite in Faust.
In the 2019/20 season, Jaho returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Desdemona in Otello, to the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona as Liú in Turandot, and to the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich as Violetta. The 2018/19 season also saw her return to Puccini’s La Rondine for the Deutsche Oper Berlin and take on the role of Anna in the one-act version of the composer’s first opera, Le Villi, not heard publicly since 1884, and presented in the autumn by Opera Rara at London’s Royal Festival Hall. The season was framed by her debut as Valentine in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots in Paris and her return to Opera Australia to sing Anna Bolena in the first of their Donizetti Three Queens Trilogy. She also recently sang in the première of Thaïs in Beijing and made her Dutch National Opera debut as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.